An Emerging Gold Producer With A Financed High-Grade Zinc Project:
With completion of the Mt. Hamilton feasibility study and Plan of Operations in 2012, Solitario Exploration & Royalty Corp. (NYSE MKT: XPL; TSX: SLR) is ontrack to become one of the newest U.S. gold producers. The Mt. Hamilton gold project in eastern Nevada is a development-stage project with operating cash costs of $575/oz. and an 8-year mine life averaging 54,000 ounces per year. Capital costs to place the project into production are estimated at $72 million. Resources have nearly doubled since acquisition, and with the recent addition of the Seligman deposit, Solitario is now evaluating a nine-to-ten year, 60,000 oz./year production schedule. Initial production is slated for second half-2015.
Our second most important asset is our high-grade Bongará zinc project in Peru that is joint ventured with Votorantim Metais, the fifth largest zinc producer in the world. Nearly $60 million has been spent on the property to date where recent drilling results identified some of the highest grade intercepts in the history of the project. Solitario recently engaged SRK Consulting to complete an initial NI 43-101 technical report on resources at Bongara which should be completed before the end of May, 2014. Vo¬torantim continues to conduct advanced engineering studies and is also planning a 6,000 meter dilenation drilling program for 2014. Solitario’s 30% interest is fully funded through the start of production by our partner, Votorantim, making it a dilution-free project to Solitario and its shareholders.
Our focus is on gold and silver, but we have advanced projects with platinum-palladium, zinc and lead. Solitario’s success has been fueled by its ability to identify large-potential early stage exploration properties and subsequently leverage these successes into partnerships with senior mining companies including, Anglo Platinum, Hochschild Mining, and Votorantim Metais. Our joint ventures are structured very similar to Net Profit Interest Royalties in which we are essentially financed through production to cash flow. In 2014, our partners will spend over $11 million on our projects. With this business strategy we greatly reduce financial risk and minimize shareholder dilution, while continuing to build a pipeline of exploration projects.